Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wisconsin Couple Charged With Embezzling $190K From Church

From the Duluth News Tribune on 12/27/2016:

RUSH RIVER, Wis. - St. Croix County authorities allege a Roberts woman and her husband embezzled about $190,000 from a rural church here over the course of nearly 10 years.

Kara K. Amundson-LaVenture and Michael LaVenture return to court next week on felony theft charges. LaVenture’s charges stipulate he was party to a crime. Amundson-LaVenture also faces one count of unauthorized identity use, a felony. A preliminary hearing in both cases is set for Tuesday, Jan. 3.

The couple was responsible for $167,551 in unauthorized checks and $21,898 in missing cash from New Centerville United Methodist Church, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. The charges allege the thefts occurred between February 2006 and May 2015.


Read the whole story here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays

Marquet International wishes you a happy holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2017.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Former Fire Captain In California Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $300K From Union

A former fire captain in Lodi, California has been accused of embezzling $297K from local fire fighter's union where he had served as treasurer.  From the Lodi News-Sentinel on 12/16/2016:
A former Lodi firefighter is facing felony charges after allegedly embezzling $297,000 from the Lodi Professional Firefighters Union.                                                            
According to court records, Captain Oscar Picazo, who served as the union’s treasurer, has been charged with grand theft by embezzlement over $950, taking, damaging or destroying property over $200 and theft of more than $100,000.
Picazo will be arraigned next Thursday at 9:15 a.m. at the Lodi branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
Picazo, who was nominated union treasurer in December of 2003, resigned from both the union and his position at the Lodi Fire Department in September of this year after the city launched an investigation into the matter.
The union released a statement that read: “While the media has only recently learned of the criminal charges brought against Mr. Picazo the Lodi Professional Firefighters has been coping with the damage inflicted by him for several months. The LPF was very disappointed to discover that Mr. Picazo violated the trust placed in him by the union. Although Mr. Picazo did not take any public funds, the fact that Mr. Picazo would defraud his friends and colleagues makes this situation all the more disheartening. The Lodi Professional Firefighters appreciates the thorough investigation of this matter by local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s efforts to protect the interests of the LPF and its members. Given that the LPF and its members are the victims in this matter we have no further comment until the conclusion of all legal proceedings.”

Read the whole story here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Former Head of Credit Union Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $2.5 Million; Was Employed There For 37 Years

From the FBI on 7/19/2016:

On July 15, 2016, Linda Lee Clark, 68, of Corydon, Iowa, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to an United States Attorney’s Information to one count of embezzlement by a credit union employee, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Clark admitted to embezzling $2,494,809 of funds from the SCICAP Credit Union in Chariton, Iowa, from the time she began working there as a bookkeeper in 1978 until she resigned in August 2015. Clark redirected account holders’ deposits into her own personal account and the accounts of her children; and initiated unauthorized withdrawals of funds from member accounts into her own personal account and the accounts of her children. Clark concealed the embezzlement by maintaining two sets of accounting records on the Credit Union’s data processing system. As a result of Clark’s embezzlement, the Credit Union became insolvent and was forced into liquidation.

Clark faces a potential statutory sentence of up to thirty (30) years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and a term of up to three (3) years of supervised release to follow any term of imprisonment. As part of the plea agreement, Clark agreed to pay restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on November 15, 2016, before United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger at the United States Courthouse in Des Moines.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Former Head of Long Island Non-Profit Accused of Embezzling Nearly $1 Million - Supported Lavish Lifestyle

From the New York Post on 7/18/16:

The head of a Long Island not-for-profit organization swiped nearly $1 million in “consulting fees” to pay for her lavish lifestyle, which included cosmetic surgery, family vacations, spa treatments and her $1.3 million home, federal authorities in Brooklyn charged Monday.

Wafa Abboud allegedly ripped off $900,000 from Human First Inc., a social-services provider for those with autism and other developmental disabilities, between January 2011 and May 2016, according to a criminal complaint.

She served as executive director of the nonprofit from 2010 through May 2016, when she was fired.
The organization paid at least $16,000 a month — and sometimes more — to consulting firm MPB Management, a company run by one of Abboud’s cohorts, Marcelle Bailey, court papers say.

A federal investigation found that after the money was transferred to MPB Management, Abboud, 48, used the firm’s bank account to pay off at least $114,000 in personal credit-card debt she had racked up on vacations, jewelry and dining out, officials charged.

She also allegedly wired about $67,000 from MPB Management accounts to herself — and drew checks from it, including $8,000 for a “cosmetic-surgery bill,” according to the court complaint.

About $340,000 in ill-gotten gains were used as a down payment on Abboud’s home in Merrick, LI.
She is also accused of swiping more than $3,5000 to pay for property taxes.

Abboud and a co-defendant, Rami Misbah Taha, crafted a similar money-laundering scheme when it came to funding renovations for the home, according to the complaint.

Human First paid out more than $400,000 to a company controlled by Taha for purported “repairs” to its facilities — but the money was then funneled to a construction business that was doing upgrades on Abboud’s abode, the court documents say.

Prosecutors say Abboud also wired more than $23,000 to people in Morocco and Egypt between 2012 and 2014.

Abboud, Taha and Bailey were indicted last week on charges of embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud for allegedly making false statements in order to secure a $1 million mortgage for the Merrick house.

They were arrested on the charges last month and released on bail, according to court records.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Marquet International's White Collar Rogue's Gallery Updated With a Dozen New Profiles

Marquet International's White Collar Rogue's Gallery has been updated to include a dozen new major fraudster profiles.  Read all about these notorious white collar rogues on our website here.  Let us know if you have a worthy infamous candidate or two for our next update by emailing us at   Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

County Deputy Sheriff In Virginia Sentenced For Embezzling $229K

Public corruption is endemic, even in law enforcement circles.  From the Washington Post on 6/17/2016:

Claiming not to remember the past decade was not a good way try to escape hard time — at least not for Frank Pearson, a former Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy sentenced Friday to three years in prison for embezzlement.

Pearson, who from 2010 to 2013 stole $229,000 in forfeited assets he was charged with overseeing, maintained throughout his trial that he had amnesia covering 10 years.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presided over Pearson’s bench trial and found him guilty, said Friday that he does not believe the claim.

“You may have convinced yourself that you don’t remember these events,” Ellis said, but “your claim of amnesia doesn’t resonate with me.”

Defense attorneys said before the trial that in October 2013, after Pearson’s wife found him unresponsive on the bathroom floor of the family’s home, he woke up thinking the year was 2001 and he was unable to recognize friends he had met after that year.

Ellis noted Friday that a physician was unable to confirm Pearson’s memory loss and had deemed the ex-deputy fit to stand trial.

“I grew up in a society where corruption was rife,” said Ellis, who was born in Colombia. “Corruption by government can kill a society.”

Prosecutors noted that not all of the lost funds have been accounted for. The night before he was due to meet with supervisors who had grown suspicious, Pearson was seen leaving the office with two boxes that another deputy said contained rolls of coins.

Read the whole story here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Illinois Woman Charged With Embezzling $370K From Assisted Living Facility

Another shameless example of brazen fraud involving a bookkeeper willing to fleece her employer with no apparent concern about the consequences.  From WLS 860 AM on 6/17/16:

A north suburban woman was charged Wednesday in an embezzlement scheme that allegedly stole more than $370,000 from Econocare, a Lincolnwood assisted living company she worked for.

Shawna Wolff-Geisler, 41, of Des Plaines was charged with a felony counts of continuing financial crimes enterprise and theft, according to a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Wolff-Geisler was charged following an investigation initiated by the Lincolnwood Police Department and the financial crimes units of the Cook County sheriff’s police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office after she was terminated from the company in 2015, according to the statement.

Prosecutors said Wolff-Geisler was fired from Econocare in August 2015, after which a financial inspection was preformed. The inspection allegedly revealed numerous suspicious checks were written from the company’s bank account and made payable to Wolff-Geisler. An investigation found about 80 checks were written to Wolff-Geisler with a forged signature of the company’s CEO, prosecutors said.


Read the whole story here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marquet Internatinonal's Resume Liar's Club Now Updated With A Dozen New Profiles

Marquet International's popular Resume Liar's Club compendium has been updated on our website with a dozen new profiles.  We provide these examples in order to remind our clients how important it is to conduct regular background checks on employees and to thoroughly vet key officers and directors.  Marquet International provides clients with hand crafted due diligence reports on principals, officers, directors and other key executives and corporate entities in corporate financing transactions, mergers & acquisitions, know your customer investigations, litigation support efforts and pre-employment screening, to name a few. 

Check out the updated Resume Liars Club here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Former Bookkeeper Of Oklahoma Oil Pipe Supply Company Charged With Embezzling $7 Million

From Tulsa World on 6/10/2016:

A former bookkeeper at an Oklahoma City oil field pipe company has been charged by federal authorities in a $7 million embezzlement scheme that also involved mall kiosks in several states.

Rodney Alan Hager, 38, worked at J&B Pipe Supply Co. from 2007 to 2014. He also owned Mall Concepts of Oklahoma Inc., which operated mall kiosks in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Georgia and other states.

Federal prosecutors said Hager, of Choctaw, wired money from J&B Pipe Supply to several bank accounts under his control, including the Mall Concepts’ account. They said Hager opened credit card counts in the name of one of the owners of the pipe supply company, paying off the credit cards with money from corporate accounts.

He also took signed, blank company checks intended to pay suppliers and deposited them into his bank accounts or cashed them, prosecutors said.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Former City Finance Manager In California Reportedly Embezzled Nearly $5 Million From Municipality

From the Orange County Register on 6/8/2016:

City officials have revealed that Placentia’s former finance services manager allegedly embezzled nearly $5 million from the financially fragile city – about $600,000 more than first believed.

Initially, authorities believed Michael Minh Nguyen had embezzled $4.3 million, but the ongoing investigation has uncovered an additional $600,000 in missing funds. Authorities say they have seized $2.7 million of that money.

“The city is working diligently to seek court authorization to have the funds transferred back,” Placentia City Administrator Damien Arrula wrote in an email Wednesday night.

Also, a $1 million insurance policy may help the city recoup additional money.

“The forensic audit is estimated to be completed in July, at which point in time the city will have sufficient information to prepare its insurance claim,” Arrula said. “After the submittal, there is a review process, which will be conducted by the insurance carrier. ”

Prosecutors allege that Nguyen made 17 illegal wire transfers from city funds from January 2014 to April 2016 to several accounts belonging to him and others. Prosecutors initially believed the embezzlement scheme began in April 2015.

Councilman Scott Nelson said he is optimistic that the city will recover most of the missing funds.
“It looks like we are going to be very fortunate to get most of the taxpayers’ money back.” Nelson said. “That’s really thanks to our staff and the D.A. doing a great, great job.”

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fugitive Indicted In Massive $54 Million Embezzlement From Connecticut Investment Firm

From The Greenwich Time on 6/2/2016:

A 44-year-old Greenwich man - on the run since last April - has been indicted in in connection with embezzling $54 million from the private equity firm for which he worked.

Iftikar Ali Ahmed, aka Ifty, 44, was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston on four counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements on income tax returns. Ahmed is currently a fugitive from justice. He was charged in a separate scheme in April 2015, and fled the country while on pre-trial release.

The indictment alleges that between 2004 and April 2015, Ahmed embezzled more than $54 million from the private equity firm for which he worked as a general partner and fund manager.

The indictment further alleges that Ahmed used the proceeds of his fraud to purchase a $9.6 million residence in Greenwich and a luxury condominium in New York for approximately $8.6 million.

‘An elaborate scheme’

According to U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Ahmed embezzled the money through an elaborate scheme to defraud in which he submitted false invoices, substantially overstated the prices of international business deals he orchestrated on behalf of his employer, and by setting up fraudulent bank accounts in the name of the private equity firm for which he worked and the companies in which his employer invested.”

On one occasion in November 2014, it is alleged that Ahmed recommended to his private equity firm that it invest $20 million in an international company and justified the price by submitting fraudulent financial documents. At the same time, Ahmed informed the international company that his employer had agreed to purchase shares for $2 million.

The indictment alleges that Ahmed then directed the private equity firm to wire $2 million to another company and the remaining $18 million to an account that Ahmed falsely claimed was the company’s account, but actually belonged to Ahmed.

On Jan. 12, 2015, Ahmed transferred the $18 million in fraud proceeds to his spouse and a portion of these funds was used to purchase a luxury condominium in New York City, according to the indictment.

According to The Hindu, Ahmed and another Indian-origin entrepreneur were charged in April 2015 for insider trading for making over a million dollars in illegal profits through the proposed acquisition of Cooper Tire and Rubber by India’s Apollo Tyres. Amit Kanodia, of Massachusetts, a 47-year-old entrepreneur and private equity investor, and his long-time friend Iftikar Ahmed, a general partner at a venture capital firm were charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the acquisition of American company Cooper by Apollo was never completed, the SEC complaint said that Cooper Tire’s stock price jumped 41 per cent when the acquisition was announced in June 2013.

The SEC alleges that Kanodia tipped Ahmed and another friend prior to the acquisition announcement after learning of the deal from his wife, who was Apollo’s general counsel at the time, more than two months before the merger was announced.

Assets frozen

In May 2015, the SEC obtained a court order freezing $55,089,446 million of Ahmed's assets.
According to the SEC's complaint, Ahmed had Oak funds pay $20 million for a $2 million stake in an Asian e-commerce joint venture in December 2014, pocketing the $18 million difference for himself. It alleges that in another investment in August 2014, an Oak fund overpaid for shares in a China-based e-commerce company, allowing Ahmed to pocket $2 million. In a third transaction, the complaint alleges that in 2013, Ahmed advised an Oak fund to invest $25 million in a U.S.-based e-commerce company without disclosing his interest in I-Cubed Domains LLC, which had a significant stake in the same company. The following year, at Ahmed's advice, the Oak fund paid $7.5 million to I-Cubed to buy shares in the company that I-Cubed had acquired for $2 million. The complaint alleges that Ahmed again failed to disclose his ties to I-Cubed, violating his duty to act in the best interest of the Oak fund investors and avoid self-dealing.

According to Bloomberg, Ahmed received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1999 and an undergraduate degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi in 1993. He was a general partner at Oak Investment Partners, spent three years with Fidelity Ventures as senior associate and worked in the private equity and special situations group of Goldman Sachs.

What he faces

If Ahmed is captured - and convicted - the charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each count.

The charge of making false statements in income tax returns provides for a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million on each count.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Former Finance Director at U Miami Pleads Guilty in $2.3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

From the Associated Press on 5/29/2016:

A former finance director at a University of Miami science school faces prison time after pleading guilty to tax evasion in a $2.3 million embezzlement scheme.

Sentencing is set for August in Miami federal court for 58-year-old Kimberly Jean Miller, who faces up to five years behind bars on each of four tax evasion counts.

Miller was finance director at the university's Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science from 2002 to 2012. Court documents show she used her authority to embezzle $2.3 million by falsifying vendor invoices so that checks could be deposited in a business bank account she controlled.

Prosecutors say Miller did not report the money on income tax returns between 2008 and 2011 and now owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $329,000 in back taxes.

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Former Hospital Employee Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $100K From Seattle Children's

From KING5 on 5/25/2016:

A former employee at Seattle Children's is facing theft charges, accused of embezzling nearly $100,000 from the hospital.  Prosecutors say the money was used to build a Hindu temple.
As first reported in the Seattle PI, Bram Deo has admitted to the embezzlement and resigned in August of 2015 when confronted by his employer.

Court documents say he spent more than a decade working in the accounting department at Seattle Children's.  It was in 2011 and 2012 when he allegedly stole $96,250 from the hospital.

As for what he was doing with the money, investigators say Deo also served as treasurer for a Hindu temple on Des Moines Memorial Drive in Seattle.

According to court documents, he reportedly used the money to pay for construction at the temple, and told the contractor doing the work it was an authorized donation from Seattle Children's.
Deo was charged just last week, with five counts of theft in the first degree.

A spokesperson for Seattle Children's told KING 5 that the hospital discovered the theft during an internal investigation in 2015.  The hospital then reported the theft to the Seattle Police Department.

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Former Fire District Administrator In Arizona Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling Nearly $1.8 Million

From the Associated Press on 5/11/2016:

Authorities say a woman who oversaw finances for the former Show Low Fire District embezzled nearly $1.8 million over several years.

A Navajo County grand jury recently indicted Natalie Cluff on multiple felony charges. She’s scheduled for an arraignment Monday.

Her father, former Show Low Fire District Chief Ben Owens Sr., also is accused of financial crimes.
The charges came after the state auditor general’s office looked into the district’s finances. The report released Tuesday found that Cluff unlawfully issued hundreds of checks between February 2005 and June 2012 and submitted fake audits.

Read the whole story here:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Risk & Opportunities - 10 Year Reflections

Read Chris Marquet's reflections on the risks and opportunities facing businesses as we have seen them develop over the past decade.

Read the letter on our website here:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Marquet International Celebrates 10 Years

Marquet International, Ltd. celebrates 10 years of excellence in investigations, due diligence & litigation support services.  Thank you to all of our clients, colleagues and friends.  We appreciate your continued support and look forward to the next decade of service. 
Christopher T. Marquet, CEO

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Office Manager of Georgia Medical Concern Indicted on Charges She Embezzled $1.2 million

From The Telegraph of Macon on 1/13/2015:

The former office manager of a Warner Robins surgical practice was indicted Wednesday on charges that she embezzled more than $1.2 million from her former employer.

Maria Elizabeth Trenam is accused of embezzling the money from Surgical Associates of Warner Robins from March 31, 2011 to Aug. 11, 2015, according to the federal indictment.

As the officer manager, Trenam had access to banking and financial records of the business, could write checks on business accounts and had access to signature stamps of the doctors, according to the indictment. She also had a business credit card and handled the payroll for employees.

"The doctors trusted (Trenam) to the extent that there was little oversight of her activities as the officer manager," the indictment said.
Trenam is accused of using her position to make unauthorized cash withdrawals at ATMs using the business credit card assigned to her, of writing unauthorized checks to herself on business accounts using the signature stamps of the doctors and of increasing her salary without authorization.

Trenam also is accused of using the business credit card to make unauthorized purchases and for travel and entertainment.

The alleged unauthorized purchases with the business credit card ranged from the Apple online store and hotel rentals, including from one in Las Vegas, to purchases at a Kroger in Warner Robins. A $600 cash withdrawal with the business card also was among the alleged transactions outlined in the indictment.

In addition, a forfeiture notice was filed in federal court for any property owned by Trenam that may have been obtained with embezzled money.
She initially was arrested on a charge of fiduciary theft in connection with the embezzlement following an extensive investigation by the Houston County Sheriff's Office. The FBI also became involved because some of the transactions occurred across state lines, said Houston County sheriff's Capt. Jon Holland. The case was later turned over to the U.S. District Attorney's Office.

Read more here:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Off To A Bang: Massive $20 Million Embezzlement Revealed At Credit Union In Michigan

Only Discovered When Alleged Perp Walks Into Police Station To Confess

From the Detroit News on 1/8/2016:

A Livingston County man known for generous acts of charity is expected to face charges for allegedly embezzling $20 million from an Oakland County credit union.

An official of Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union is jailed after walking into the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and admitting he had looted funds from the facility since 2003, authorities said Thursday.

The man’s story stunned investigators, who said it wasn’t known that any money was missing.

“A man walked into the sheriff’s office Wednesday morning on his own saying he wanted to give himself up because he was responsible for millions of dollars in embezzlement over a 12-year period from the credit union where he worked,” Undersheriff Michael McCabe confirmed Thursday. “We weren’t even aware of this until he came forward.”

The suspect — who is married and has young children — was arrested Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Investigators from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants at several locations and on accounts linked to the man.

Investigators froze bank accounts of the suspect, who was not named pending formal charges.
A safe, computers and business records were removed from a Livingston County home and were still being examined Thursday as investigators attempt to track down missing funds.

It was not known what prompted the man to turn himself in, and investigators are still trying to determine if anyone else was involved. The scheme involved bogus transactions and investments to mask the taking of funds for the suspect’s own purposes, according to a preliminary investigation.
The scheme all began to unravel during a recent audit at the credit union on Ortonville Road. It remains unclear why the missing funds were overlooked.

The credit union, in operation since 1957, has more than 9,300 members, 15 employees and lists resources of more than $60 million.

A credit union official stressed the personal accounts of members are all safe and whole.

“We are currently conducting an investigation into an possible embezzlement of funds from the credit union by a former employee,” said Donna Bullard, president and CEO of the credit union. “While this investigation is proceeding, we want to assure our members that it is business as usual at the credit union.”

Bullard reminded credit union members that all accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration, a federal share insurance agency, for up to $250,000.

“At this time we are unable to comment any further while the investigation is ongoing,” she said. “Members will be updated in the future when more information is available.”

Investigators believe the embezzled funds went to support a lifestyle that exceeded the man’s $65,000 annual salary, including a $1.3 million, 5,800-square foot home. The suspect also started and heavily promoted a private business, one of several he told others he planned to build over the next decade.

The man, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, was known locally for his generosity to charity efforts for the needy. He recently was honored by a local chamber of commerce for his community service efforts.